Michael Burleigh comments on Heinrich Himmler’s character while thoroughly abusing a thesaurus

From Michael Burleigh’s “The Third Reich”

Here some of the obsessions cited to illustrate this moralizing little creep’s weirdness make sense within his own dim terms of reference – except he did not confine his prurient sententiousness to how much his men drank or smoked, although that was surely bad enough.”

The fact that Burleigh breaks down and calls Himmler a “little creep” is hilarious on it’s own, but it’s made even funnier by the paragraph which precedes it, which is rendered practically unintelligible due to the ridiculous vocabulary Burleigh insists upon.

“Himmler’s more outre obsessions should not distract from his manifestly astute grasp of how this highly chaotic and protean political system worked. Routinely out-maneuvering his foes, his empire spread between the interstices of state, Party, and army, throughout Germany, and then across the whole of occupied Europe. His manner may have been distracted and unassuming, but the coldness, moralizing, prying and suspicion kept him in absolute control of subordinates, whose own utter ruthlessness was accompanied by human frailties which Himmler lacked.”

I have to be honest though, I have an excellent vocabulary and I don’t know what, like, half of those words meant. The entire book is like this – all 812 pages. Every third word you have to put the dang thing down and use a dictionary to figure out what the heck this guy just said! As an undergrad, chewing through this volume was the slowest, most frustrating sort of academic hell. Now as a Masters’ I thought I’d have an easier time with it…. nope. I still want to chuck a thesarus right at Burleigh’s head.

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